Russia to demand lower EU agriculture subsidies after joining WTO



Russia will demand that the European Union reduce state subsidies to domestic agricultural producers after the country joins the World Trade Organization, the economics minister said Saturday.

The problem of agricultural subsidies remains one of the key stumbling blocks at the current round of Doha talks and raises Russia 's legitimate concerns as a future WTO member.

"Either you [the EU] reduce the subsidies, at least for exported goods, or we will introduce compensatory import duties to create equal conditions," German Gref said at an investment forum in the capital of Tatarstan.

He said that the EU subsidies should be reduced by at least 70%, and in that case the Russian agriculture "could become one of the most competitive in Europe " after joining the WTO.

The minister also said that the Russian government was planning to support domestic agricultural producers using "long-term leasing mechanisms and favorable options to purchase advanced equipment."

Russia is expecting to complete bilateral negotiations on its accession to the World Trade Organization within three weeks, and all multilateral talks by the end of July.

Jose Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission, said following the Russia-EU summit in the Volga River city of Samara May 18 that the EU fully supports the prospect of Russia joining the global trade organization.